Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2 Months Tomorrow

The pace of these last few weeks have been out of control. It seems like blogged just yesterday but that was actually about 3 weeks ago. I hope the next three weeks slow down a little. Not that we aren't ready for the departure date to be here already but the more prep time the better.

Training took a backseat the last two weeks. A friend of Lindsay and mine, Nathan Crawson, was struck by a drunk driver on his bike and killed. He had a 5 year old daughter he had just gained full custody of her, deservingly so. It was and truly is a sad occasion. Nathan was a very unique individual of whom I'll never feel I got to spend a sufficient amount of time with. He was an amazing artist, an even more amazing dad, and a supporter of our trip. He was taken too soon and will be sorely missed.

Sarah(gf not mom), Nathan, and Kat

I sometimes wonder what the home life is gonna throw at us while we're on the Trail. How soon will we get the news and will we be able to do anything about it? We both have Grandmas and other family we'll be leaving that we hope and pray all stays well for at least the 5 and a half months while we travel. I imagine a lot of people have to get off the Trail due to such circumstances. It's so sad when a twist of fate calls you back where you truly need to be. But I would have it no other way. If you gotta go, you gotta go. Family first. That includes the closest of friends.

Hunting season is over too. I ended the year with 4 deer. The last one is in the ice chest now. All 25-30lbs is going straight to jerky for the trail. Few things match the taste of deer jerky. It's squirrel and rabbit season now which I will not be taking part in. Too much preparation left. The itinerary begins tomorrow and thanks to the good people at WhiteBlaze.net for running such a helpful and useful website and the Appalachian Trail Conference for the Data Book and Thru-Hikers Companion, the necessary task should be much less difficult. I love reading the Thru-Hikers Companion. It's so informative and every bit of information is crucial.

 In case you needed a reminder.

Thanks ATC! Can't wait to get up there!

Maybe a month's worth?

Our friends with the film Beauty Beneath the Dirt will be showing their film at Trail Days in Damascus, VA May 18th. Trail Days is an annual event. Hikers and other Trail enthusiasts come from all over. Some have to catch a ride from further away on the trail to experience the festival then get a ride back to continue their hike. We might be in that very position. I want to catch that film. They gave some real words of wisdom and encouragement when this hike was still only an idea. I appreciate them and want to support them in anyway that I can.

We want to thank everyone who comes up to us and asks about the Trail. That little spark of interest, whether it be about the Trail specifically or just about what we are doing with our lives, we thrive on. We have such a massive support group and that is extremely comforting. We aren't going on this journey to escape anything. It's a journey to discover something, anything, and everything. We can't wait to have the same enthusiasm telling you about the stories we will have experienced as we do telling you now about the stories we have to come. We look forward to every step on the Trail and will have the people who helped us get there in the front of our mind. It's for anyone who believes we can do it. 2100+ plus miles won't be easy but will be completed.

Chris Caffarel, Andrea Baty, Rebecca Marchiafava, Becky Rhodes, Andrew Bursavich, Helena Wolfe, Barry Blevins, Aunt Sharon, Jill Barringer, George Waggner, Carol Patt, Marissa Frayer, Lyric Cox, Jonathan Tillman, Chesley, Mom, Dad, and anyone else who has helped in anyway. Thank you.

Final Hunt

Until next time...
"I swear I didn't chew up any tissue paper"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What a Holiday Season!

It's been far too long and we apologize for that. Around mid November both of our lives got pretty hectic especially with Chesley(my older brother who will be meeting up with us on the trail) in town for Thanksgiving, shopping and working for Christmas, and New Years(which consisted of a tree falling on my father's truck. Arg!). Despite the chaotic 2 months they were good ones. Christmas brought a lot of trail essentials including Timberland Chocorua hiking boots for both Lindsay and me, a few more solar powered chargers, and a few memory cards in addition to some Smartwool Phd socks(which are absolutely amazing!).

So it stands right now we only need a few more things. Mainly clothing but also meds for Chaser. Speaking of, Chaser got fixed this past Monday. He took it like a champ. I really believe it'll help on the trail. It's been needing to be done anyway. We are glad it got taken care of before the adventure.

We have been practicing any chance we get which are usually the days we both have off. We have been packing our packs out and heading to Tunica Hills aka Clark Creek where the climbs and descents are as close to the AT as we are gonna get. It's an all-the-way around roughly 4 mile trail. We got to test some of our gear which went great. The SteriPen, which uses UV light to kill bacteria in water obtained from streams, must've worked because we never experienced unusual stomach issues after use. Our hiking boots are awesome and so are our Black Diamond trekking poles. They really do make a difference. You can transfer a lot of the weight to your arms easing up on your legs and that's crucial.

One last thing. We've been dehydrating pretty nonstop. Mangos, pineapples, strawberries, all kinds of apples, bananas, tangerines, satsumas, deer jerky, hamburger meat, chicken and much more to come. We've been recording a lot of our training(as training) and dehydrating. There's a couple videos coming soon. Just need to find a little extra time to sit, convert video appropriately, and then edit it into something you'd like to watch and share.

One more last thing. I was awarded volunteer of the month by the awesome people at Appalachian Trail Conservancy for the videos I put together on trail acquisition for them! Article: Colton Calloway - January Volunteer of the Month. It was win win. I have so many facts and tidbits in my head about the trail after editing those videos. It's nice to chat about the trail to people who are unaware of it's existence. They are well aware of it by the time we finish. They are usually so fascinated. That's because it IS fascinating. I just can't wait to be on the trail, in the woods, with my girlfriend and dog others who share the same goal.

2 Months 20 Days.

And this movie was great and extremely helpful. Another great Christmas gift!